The Q&A Archives: Mystery bedding plant

Question: I bought some unidentified bedding plants at Home Depot yesterday. No one in the store knew what they were or how to care for them. They were in a contractor pack beside the pansies. The flowers look similar to pinks or small flat carnations and are various pink in color. Leaf foliage is about three inches long and rather skinny. I assume they are annuals and hoping they will bloom through the winter like pansies. Any ideas?

Answer: Wish I could say for certain what your mystery plant is but garden centers purchase seasonal annuals from local sources and you didn't give us a clue as to where you live. But, based upon your description of the plant, and the fact that it is the fall planting season, you probably have some series of Dianthus. Dianthus includes the familiar "pinks" but some of the newer varieties have bolder colors and sometimes are bi-colored. The foliage and the flower shape sounds very much like dianthus. If this is what you have, they do grow well in cooler temperatures and will make perfect companions to pansies. Some Dianthus are perennials if the weather is mild so you may have a perennial rather than an annual. Plants with thick leaves such as you would see with carnations, are hardier than those with thin leaves such as you would associate with pinks. Wish I could offer more information!

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